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Old 07-23-2012, 09:19 AM
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Default Fluorocarbon

I have had problems with knot strength on fluorocarbon tippet and started doing some research after a guide in Alaska told me the standard knots don't work on fluorocarbon. He recommended the Duncan loop also called the Uniknot. Well, I won't bore you with the test procedures, but as it turns out, the strongest knot I tested for attaching a hook was the improved clinch.
I found some very valuable information on other knots to use with fluorocarbon on the manufacturers websites. I don't think I can reveal them here, but if you PM me I will provide them.
Another thing I have tried seems to work well also. As you know, fluorocarbon has nearly the same refractive index as water, which means light passing through is not bent and so the line becomes invisible. But what about the light reflected off the shiny surface? I started getting a handful of mud or sand and rubbing my line between my fingers. It seems to make a big difference so now I am carrying a small pad of green pot scrubbing material on my vest. Don't rub too hard as it may reduce the breaking strength.
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFlinger2421 View Post
I have had problems with knot strength on fluorocarbon tippet and started doing some research after a guide in Alaska told me the standard knots don't work on fluorocarbon. He recommended the Duncan loop also called the Uniknot. Well, I won't bore you with the test procedures, but as it turns out, the strongest knot I tested for attaching a hook was the improved clinch.
I found some very valuable information on other knots to use with fluorocarbon on the manufacturers websites. I don't think I can reveal them here, but if you PM me I will provide them.
Another thing I have tried seems to work well also. As you know, fluorocarbon has nearly the same refractive index as water, which means light passing through is not bent and so the line becomes invisible. But what about the light reflected off the shiny surface? I started getting a handful of mud or sand and rubbing my line between my fingers. It seems to make a big difference so now I am carrying a small pad of green pot scrubbing material on my vest. Don't rub too hard as it may reduce the breaking strength.
The Palomar and the San Diego Jam are much much stronger then the improved clinch both for Fluorcarbon and Nylon. Cheers.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

What you are doing is counter productive and totally nullifies the point of fluro!

If you scuff it, it becomes opaque, so light will not be able to travel through the line. You are essentially making the line more visible since it can't allow light to pass through.

Fluro is almost the same refractive index to water which makes it invisible in water, a fish won't see any "shiny surface because light is passing through it, and not reflecting off of it.

But honestly this is all a moot point, shiny or not, people seem to catch fish with any line. Before fluro, it was nylon, before nylon it was cotton, before then, silk, before that, horsehair, and so on...

The point being, even if a fish sees it or not, they are still taking the fly. But what you are doing by scuffing up your line is counter-productive and removing one of fluro's touted benefits!
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

What you are describing is just a crude form of "degreasing" your leader....which gets the sheen off of it which hopefully makes it less visible to wary fish. I do this also when I'm fishing slow gin clear water....abd degrease the last 12"....but I buy a $6 packet of Loon's "snake river mud"....it has the same effect without potential to damage the leader. as a FYI I primarily dryfly fish.....I use long monofilament leaders but 99% of the time my tippet to fly (last section) is 6x Rio Fluorocarbon. I use triple surgeons knots to connect to my leader...and despite some occasional bad press...I successfully use the davy knot to connect my fly with excellent success. I recently brought a feisty 22" brown to hand using this sized tippet.....a tailwater fish and he was a fighter - so I have NOT experienced knot failure except as a rarity.
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

Flyflinger,
I'm sure it's not an issue here "to reveal" the knots from the manufacturers websites.

Also wondering if the issue of knot strength has more to do with joining mono to fluoro instead which some folks say they have issues with. Can't say I've personally had problems either way as long as the knot is done correctly and lubricated well before tightening.
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Old 07-23-2012, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

Chris n:
I tested the San Diego Jam as well as the Palomar against the improved clinch, one hook with the clinch and one with the test knot. Then I put one hook over my scale and pulled the other with a pliers until something broke.
Both the San Diego and the Palomar tied (4 tests each) with the improved clinch using 4# fluorocarbon .006. Both of those knots were equal to the improved clinch and the break occurred between 3 and 4# (my scale only measures in 1# units).
Conclusion: Any of the three will work fine!

Vitesse304:
You are correct, the green pad is too much. All I want to do is "degrease" it, but you started me thinking when you said the
fluorocarbon was "invisible" in water. I dropped a piece in a glass of water, first without "degreasing" and then after it had been "degreased" with a green pad. Then I dropped apiece of my ultragreen Maxima in. Guess what? I could see all three and except for the slight green tint of the ultragreen, I couldn't tell one from the other!
I think I'll just stick with my same old cheap tippet material. I am switching to the improved clinch, however, since for me it is the easiest to tie!
Oh, and the Davy knot seems to work fine for me with small hooks and produces a very small knot (important for #20 flies), but on large hooks it simply slips.

Use the information you want, forget the rest.

---------- Post added at 04:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:24 PM ----------

The knots recommended for fluorocarbon on ____________.com are as follows:
for attaching terminal hooks: Improved Clinch, Seaguar Loop Knot.
for joining line: Double Uniknot, Surgeons Knot, Seaguar knot

I think you can guess what goes in the space before.com
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

FYI...

Don't spend the money and buy fluro tippet material on those little spools for $20 or whatever...

Buy it in "bulk"! You can get 200 yds or more for the same price as a little spool of tippet that has 20 yds on it!

I just get some 2.5 or 3 lb test (6x), and 4 or 5 lb test (5x) in the big spool and rewind it on the little spools so they are easy to carry in my pack.

I really haven't tried different brands, but the super p and the berkeley stuff seems to work just fine for me!

Also, back to your question...I use an improved clinch. I've never had any issues with fluro or mono. Just be sure to lubricate the knot as you tighten it and make sure it "slides" down nice and tight.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

I have to agree that degreasing a leader decreases the ability of the fish to identify the leader material.

There are three factors at work here and we tend to concentrate on only one of them - refractive index. The second is the residual oily sheen on the leader surface from the manufacturing process. The third is the fact that refractive index comes into play ONLY if the leader material is SUNKEN and completely surrounded by water. Degreasing eliminates factors two and three.

I cannot post references to other BB's but there is extensive evidence that removing the sheen and sinking the leader reduces the visibility of fluorocarbon. The sister BB of this site has numerous posts degreasers.

Both nylon and fluorocarbon are denser than water. Most nylon mono has a specific gravity between 1.1 and 1.2 compared to fluorocarbon at about 1.8. So fluorocarbon is 50% denser than nylon mono. One might think that this would cause the fluoro to sink but what it does is that it causes the fluorocarbon to indent the meniscus more.

Since the depression of the meniscus increases the visibility of the floating line and it increases the refraction of light onto the river bottom, it makes the line more visible. It has been demonstrated that density of fuorocarbon in the sizes used for tippet will not sink by itself.

Fluorocarbon vs. Nylon | Fly Fish America

"....Surface tension—where the water’s surface behaves like an elastic film—must be broken before an object will sink. A object’s density and contact angle with the water’s surface are the two most significant variables in its ability to break surface tension and sink, and the “just slightly heavier than water” specific gravity and zero contact angle (i.e., laid out flat) of a nylon monofilament leader or tippet are not sufficient to do it most of the time. If pushed or pulled under the surface by a weighted fly or roiling current, nylon monofilament will sink . . . but very, very slowly.

Fluorocarbon has a specific gravity in the range of 1.75 to 1.90. Tungsten it ain’t, but it is significantly more dense than nylon. But is it sufficiently dense to quickly and reliable break surface tension and sink all by itself, even at zero contact angles, and even in the smallest diameters? No, it’s not. Our testing reveals that most brands of fluorocarbon tippet material in 0X to 8X diameters are no better than nylon at breaking surface tension and sinking on their own. Larger diameter fluorocarbon materials do demonstrate a slightly better ability to break surface tension without the assistance of current or other external influences, but for practical fishing purposes fluorocarbon has little benefit over nylon on this measure."

A leader floating on surface tension, displaces the water surface just like a person lying on a trampoline displaces the surface. Since the water surface under the leader is now tilted and not horizontal, this creates mini windows that the fish can see just like the legs of an insect dimple the water surface allowing the trout to detect them even though they are theoretically outside of the "window". Since the light pattern is disrupted, it can be seen by the fish that are looking up AND by the fish that are looking down, because the disrupted light pattern is displayed on the stream bottom as well. This is important in still waters and the clear slow waters of spring creek type fishing situations where the water surface is smooth. It also only important IF the fish are wary enough that this change in light pattern (either by the floating leader or by leader sheen) puts the fish off.

That is why over in Europe where the fish are extremely heavily fished, they use leader degreasers to remove the sheen and get the leaders to sink just below the surface. I think if you can make the leader less apparent to the fish, that is a good thing and I can't think of much of a downside to lowering visibility.

Commercial degreasers are commonly called "mud", such as Loon Snake River Mud or "tippet degreaser" such as Airflow Tippet Degreaser.

Degreasers do three things. First they contain a cleaner (detergent) that removes any oils or residual chemicals that are on the surface of commercial tippets. These oils prevent the leader from sinking. Secondly, they contain a sinkant or
(detergent) that destroys the surface tension of water molecules so the leader sinks immediately. Thirdly they contain fuller's earth compound that dulls the leader to remove the shiny surface so that the leader surface is less reflective. And finally, they contain a substance (glycerin) that keeps the degreaser from drying out.

If you look at the formula you may think that the only thing you have in your house is the detergent. However, you may already have a substitute for fuller's earth which is a special kind of bentonite clay. Bentonite is a clay material that anyone who visits Wyoming for fishing has probably walked on. It is a common material in
and commercial bags of clay oil absorbent. So if you have clay cat litter or oil absorbent for your garage, you have the major ingredient for making your own degreaser.

Glycerin is used in commercial leader degreaser to keep it from drying out. If you don't have glycerin, you can get some at a drug store. It is used as an anti-constipation agent. However, it is not absolutely needed.

I make my own degreaser by crushing the clay to get the finest particles and then mix in Dawn or another dishwashing detergent to get a paste. I happen to have glycerin and so I also use it but you don't have to. I store the degreaser in a 35 mm film canister and rub it on the section of leader you want to sink.

Degreasers are different from sinkants such as Gerke's Xink. These are liquids surfactants that you put on flies that you want to sink. They are commonly used on the marabou of wooly buggers so that they sink and absorb water from the very first cast. Another use is for small flies like midge pupa so they will sink faster. You can make your own sinkant as well.

KodakPhoto Flo, a wetting agent used in photo processing, is used by fly fishers to sink flies. The main ingredient in Photo Flow is ethylene glycol, which is also in antifreeze. Ethylene glycol disrupts the hydrogen bonding of water that creates the
surface film that supports flies. That is how ethylene glycol prevents water from freezing. So try some antifreeze as a wetting agent.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

A thorough treatment of the subject as usual, Silver!
I am going to make up some of that degreaser. Since I have some rouge abrasive used to polish gold, etc., I think i will use that instead of bentonite.

I was also wondering why one would use expensive fluorocarbon when dry fly fishing since the refractive advantage doesn't exist unless the leader is underwater.

I am curious. Do you think the use of fluorocarbon is worth the added expense?
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon

I do use fluorocarbon but primarily for nymphing. Some folks do use it for dries in skinny water and they sink the tippet next to the fly to make it less visible.

Fluorocarbon has another advantage over nylon for nymphing and streamer fishing other than visibility. Nylon absorbs water and swells. When it absorbs water, it not only gets weaker, it gets marginally thicker and presumably marginally more visible. Fluorocarbon maintains its strength and diameter.

To save money I tie fluorocarbon to nylon leaders but since the harder fluorocarbon can cut through the softer nylon, I use a triple surgeon's knot OR I use a tippet ring between the nylon and fluorocarbon.

I often use a Borger Unibody leader butt and transition section with at tippet ring on the end as a basic leader. Then you tie the tippet section you want to the tippet ring.

The basic Borger Uni-body Leader is 4 feet of .020" Maxima Chameleon to 1 ft of .013 Maxima Chameleon to a 3 mm tippet ring. Then tie the tippet you want to the tippet ring.

Search under "Uni-Body to Harvey Style Leader" for more complete information on how to modify the leader for nymphing vs dry fly fishing. This is the basic leader I used in Montana for both dry fly and nymph fishing.
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